In early May, a room full of community members joined Mayor Andy Berke as he announced the City of Chattanooga will be investing over $6 million into East Chattanooga through the building of a new Avondale Youth & Family Development (YFD) Center. The new center will be built from the ground up at the site of the current Avondale center and will add additional new amenities. The new Avondale YFD center is expected to more than double the square footage of the current Avondale YFD center
“We believe in the future of Avondale,” said Mayor Andy Berke. “This community has worked hard over the last several years to make today a reality. Our major investment will result in a new, larger center — but more than that, it will allow us to provide opportunities and resources to even more families in this important area of our city.”
The current Avondale YFD center was built in 1949 and is one of the cities smaller centers. The last major upgrade to Avondale YFD Center was nearly 15 years ago. Since that time, YFD staff has held numerous discussions with the community to discuss needed renovations and changes to the center.
Preliminary discussions with staff and community members have highlighted several priorities to include in the center, including official size Gymnasium with bleachers, a computer lab, a Library/Reading lab, multiple classrooms, a multipurpose room, full-sized kitchen, and office areas. Preliminary discussions for exterior improvements include larger softball fields on Wilcox Boulevard, improved parking areas, and an improved outdoor basketball court.
A tentative timeline for the new Avondale YFD Center includes a July 1, 2016, planning and design start date. The community will be engaged to provide feedback and suggestions during this time. The City expects to begin demolition of the current Center in the fall of 2016. The new Avondale YFD Center will be officially open by the end of 2017. Leadership at YFD is currently working to ensure those who use the Center will have easy access to surrounding Centers once demolition occurs.